All that glitters isn’t gold – and so it is for the franchise sector.
For years, franchisors have pursued endorsement deals with celebrities as a means of ramping up marketing efforts. This has been a successful strategy for some brands. A pull tactic in itself, endorsements are known to influence consumer behavior – similar to a strong public relations effort.
Soon, a symbiotic relationship begins to take shape in which the public correlates America’s Sweetheart with a particular brand. However, brand recognition works two ways. In the worst case, this can work to a franchise brand’s detriment. Who would have imagined that Jared Fogle’s shining endorsement for Subway would be interrupted by a federal investigation? Quite the anomaly, Fogle put the fast-casual brand on the map for its potential nutritional benefits.
Fogle’s “Subway Diet,” which consisted of two restaurant visits a day for an entire year inspired dieters everywhere to spice up their approach to healthy eating. He would become the face of the sandwich brand – sharing the story of how he lost over 245 pounds with Subway’s help. Fast forward to the small town star’s shocking fall from grace earlier this year, when he would face federal charges for child pornography. Once viewed publicly as the inspirational “every man” with whom anyone could relate, a series of lewd acts served the public a harsh dose of reality.
With this in mind, it’s worth noting that the backing of a high-profile celebrity should not be an important element in your research for finding the right opportunity. Aside from this star-studded marketing phenomenon being quite fickle, thorough research takes time. Does the opportunity line up with your personal and professional goals? Can you depend on the available support to ease your transition into business ownership? Can you see yourself growing with this brand for years to come?
Despite brands’ best efforts to align themselves with a model figure, humanity is an uncontrollable variable. People can and do disappoint. Only time – and the whim of a chosen public figure – can determine whether or not a celebrity endorsement will deliver a strong ROI for a franchisor. Take the time to ask the right questions of yourself as a potential franchise owner, as those answers will sustain your entrepreneurial journey long after the glitz is gone.
Have questions about franchising, contact Mary Tomzack top franchise expert and author.